Hairballs seem to be the bane of a cat’s existence. They are considered normal. But are they normal? Hairballs come from shedding. Shedding is believed to be normal. But is it?
First, the origin of the hairball. Cats who shed frequently or excessively, also groom themselves more frequently. When the fur builds up, some cats hack up a furball, some cats poop it out.
Cat owners have been trained for decades to think that the solution to hairballs is to give cat laxatives. Laxatives are actually intestinal lubricants – petroleum jelly to be exact – intestinal lubrication is believed to propel the ingested fur toward the back end so it is pooped out rather than hacked up on a pair of shoes. This petroleum jelly may be flavored and/or colored and have a fancy name, but it’s really petroleum jelly.
That’s not that bad, or is it? Because what does petroleum jelly mean? It means it’s derived from petroleum. Gasoline. Do we really want to be feeding this to our cats?
What would be a healthy alternative? Canned pumpkin would be great. We talked about pumpkin in the last post.
Ultimately though, the objective is to get to the underlying problems so cats don’t have hairballs in the first place. Which means addressing the shedding.
As I mentioned above, we’ve been told that shedding is normal. And for the last 40 years it has been normal because that’s how long commercial pet food has been on the shelves.
Alternatively, cats eating a real meat diet don’t shed. They have lush, vibrant hair coats, sometimes they almost feel like chinchilla fur. We should be able to rub their coat and not have fur come out – very similar to running our fingers through our hair and not having a hand full of hair in our hands.
When commercial pet food started in the 1950s, it was made with ingredients other than meat. By the 1970s, pet food was a convenient staple. Once pet food became popular and the “side effects“ became common, the “education” (re-education really) began. We were educated to think that it is “normal for cats to shed.” It is not. It’s only “normal” for cats to shed if they are eating in inflammatory diet. Inflammation equals shedding. Shedding is proof of inflammation in your cat’s body.
The good news – switch to any real food, meat-based diet, and the shedding will decrease dramatically. If there is still shedding after three or four weeks on a real food diet, this means the kitty has leaky gut as residual from having fed having been fed a kibble diet. A holistic healthcare provider can help with get to the underlying problem.
The bottom line: petroleum is not the solution, good food is the solution to hairballs and shedding.